How to know when corn is done? (1 parameter)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to know when corn is done?”, discuss answers to other related questions like the parameters that define the time limit for corn to be done, and how to use leftover boiled corn.

How to know when corn is done?

Corn is done just right when the kernels are tender and full of flavor. Cooking corns for too long toughens the kernels, which makes them chewy and lose their sweet flavor. But when the corn is undercooked, the kernels get too crunchy and not heated all the way through.  Therefore, it is very important to understand and to know when the corn is perfectly done.

When you are making corn, try to use a timer to be more exact. If you are cooking it on the grill or in the oven, set the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about 15-20 minutes by turning them over every 5 minutes. When you are to boil corns, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water and 10 minutes if the water was not boiling earlier.

When done, pierce the kernels with a paring knife. The kernels should be tender but not too mushy or tough. Examine the texture of the corns. It should be tender and a bit soft but crisp at the same time. 

2 parameters that define the time limit for corn to be done

How long the corn will take to be done depends on the freshness and sweetness, as well as whether it is still on the cob, in its husk, or shucked into kernels. So the type of corn and the amount of it determines how long you need to cook corn.

Type of corn

Different types of corn require different time frames to be cooked but it ranges from 2 to 10 minutes in general. But whichever type you use, resist the temptation to salt the boiling water, as this may harden the kernels.

Fresh corn

Boiling fresh corn needs 5 to 10 minutes. This time frame depends on the corn season. The sweeter and fresher the corn, the less time it takes to boil. This reduction in time is due to the high moisture content in fresh and sweet corn. 

Husked corn

Boiling corn in its husk takes a longer time, about 10 minutes. To boil husked corn, submerge it in boiling water and cook it for 10 minutes. Before removing the husk, wait for the ears to cool enough to handle them or use tongs. You will notice that the husk is easier to remove from a cooked cob than an uncooked cob.

Unhusked corn

Unhusked corn requires relatively less time to cook than husked corn. It needs a minimum of 2 minutes or a maximum of 5 minutes to cook unhusked corn. To boil unhusked corn, place the ears of corn in boiling water and remove them after 2–5 minutes, depending on the freshness and sweetness. The freshest, sweetest kind will take no longer than 2 minutes to boil.

Frozen corn

Frozen corn is convenient to use in stews and soups, or when you simply don’t have access to fresh corn. Unsurprisingly, frozen corn takes longer to boil than fresh corn. To cook frozen corn, add them to boiling water, lower the heat, and cook them for about 5–8 minutes until they are tender.

Frozen, shucked corn can be cooked in 2 to 3 minutes when added to boiling water.

Amount of corn

The amount of corn that you are going to boil also defines the time to cook it. The more corn you cook at once, the longer the boiling time. So it is better to cook corn in batches when you need to cook many cobs at once.

How to use leftover boiled corn?

You figured out how long to boil corn on the cob but then made too much? Don’t worry we’ve got some recipes for that leftover sweet corn. Cut the cooked corn off the cob and use it in one of these recipes:

Corn salad

This Corn Salad recipe is a creamy combination of fresh sweet corn, colorful peppers, and ripe tomatoes! It is the perfect summer salad for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues.

Grilled cowboy caviar

This Grilled Cowboy Caviar recipe is a flavorful, healthy appetizer that can also be served as a salad side dish. Grilled veggies are a fabulous addition!

Slow cooker corn chowder

The easy slow cooker corn chowder with ham and potatoes is the perfect comfort food for a family dinner.

Other FAQs about Corn that you may be interested in.

Why is corn syrup in everything?

Why is corn hard to digest?

Why is corn the most important crop?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to know when corn is done?”, discussed answers to other related questions like the parameters that define the time limit for corn to be done, and how to use leftover boiled corn.